I Googled some tips and decided to keep the operation small, (I only had two smallish heads) and go with the mason jar method.
You guys, this is so easy.
First I spent about 30 minutes chopping cabbage into kraut-sized pieces... so, small. Of course, as I was just finishing up and congratulating myself on not injuring any of my phalanges, I cut off the edge of my fingernail. No blood, but a nice dose of adrenaline, that's for sure.
Next came the fun part. I put all the shredded cabbage, about 8 cups of it, into a large bowl, sprinkled about 2 teaspoons of sea salt over it and started kneading and massaging the hell out of it. Actually, the whole point is to massage the moisture out of it so it has a brine to soak in. After about 10 minutes of sweet sweet massage, it packed it into two large, sanitized mason jars. Even after packing it really well, I still didn't have enough liquid to cover the cabbage, so I made some more brine with water and sea salt and poured it into the jars.
I covered the jars with a wash rag secured by a rubber band, and left them to sit on the counter to get their "sauer" on. I read that there was a chance that stuff could grow on the top and things could start looking funky, so I was a bit nervous. For the first few days, there was some serious fermenting going on, because a lot of air bubbles would collect in the jars around the shredded cabbage. To remedy this, I would just use a spoon to pack the cabbage down into the brine a couple times a day to squeeze the bubbles out.
After about 4 days, the bubbling stopped. At a week, we tasted it. It smelled like slightly sour cabbage, and tasted pretty much the same. It was starting to get sour but was more salty. So it stayed on the counter. We tasted it again about 5 days later, and it was better, but not quite. So it stayed on the counter for about 2 1/2 weeks total.
And you know what? No funkyness. Ever. The color of the cabbage got a little darker, the green-ness went away, and the flavor just came gradually.
Such an easy way to make the summer harvest last a little longer.
Time to get me some brats.